What is too often missed by those who wish to quantify education into neat little rows of data points like a P & L statement is that humans are not nearly so neatly packaged.  No two of us are alike.  Which is why I suppose clothes come in different sizes.

Those who want to make education policy forget that an individual’s heart and soul is not suitable to be turned into an algorithm.  Retired Cherokee County educator Freddy Reynolds reminds us of this with the following email:

All too often the only time we hear about what is happening in our schools is when something goes wrong. Maybe as school folks we don’t tell our story often enough. Maybe we just are too shy or too busy to share about all the really neat things that happen in our public schools.

Well it’s time for a neat story. The Friday before Valentine’s Day, Mr. Donnie Chandler, the driver of bus 45 at Cedar Bluff School went beyond the expected. He decorated his school bus for Valentine’s Day. Upon arrival at school, he went to each kindergarten teacher and invited them to bring their kindergarten classes to his bus after they finished eating lunch. He then had a short party for all the kindergarten kids at school in his decorated bus as he drove all the kids over to the playground.

Donnie furnished the goodies, the decorations, cleaned up his bus after the party and used his own time. His only reward was the smiles on the faces of the students.  I suspect all of them will long remember that nice bus driver who gave them a Valentine’s Day Party.

I asked Cedar Bluff Principal, Dewayne Pierce, Donnie.

He said: “When Donnie Chandler says that it’s all about the children, he means it.  He understands that not all children get to experience certain things.  So, he does things like this to give those kids time to enjoy the same things that maybe the rest of us might take for granted. That’s just Donnie being Donnie.  Our school has set a goal for all of us to do a better job of taking ownership of what we do.  Donnie does exactly that.  No one asked him to decorate his bus.  He did it because he recognized a need he could fill. That is taking ownership.  Donnie is a true asset to our school and we are blessed to have him.”

There may be no question about this kind of thing on an evaluation form for bus drivers,  but trust me, he scored extremely high in the hearts and minds of all who felt special because someone treated them that way.